Burger King, AD 300

Howard opens “Evangelical Is Not Enough” with a memoir of his evangelical, Protestant upbringing, spoken at times in glowing speech, at times taking subtle jabs at evangelical thought.

Thinking of his former evangelicalism, Howard observes that he was taught to hold the truths of the ancient creeds, but in a culture whose “imagination did not run to creeds, fathers, doctors, tradition, or catholic orthodoxy.”  He notes that “we attached almost no importance to ancient historic credentials.”

For a Roman Catholic, it is supremely important to claim an unbroken chain of authority going all the way back to Christ Himself.  Around the time of the great church councils (Ephesus, Nicaea, Chalcedon), men belonging to this unbroken apostolic chain made binding declarations about the Trinity, and how exactly Christ could be both Divine and Man.   The RCC considers itself to be the heir of these ancient councils, solely qualified to exercise binding authority today.

To illustrate, consider Burger King.  If someone attempted to start a fast food joint identical to Burger King in every way, without buying the franchise license from Burger King, would it really be a Burger King?  Or, if I built a Shelby Cobra replica true to the original in every way, would it be a real Cobra?

The Burger King without a license, and the Cobra replica, is the Protestant Church, according to Roman Catholics.

However, from the Protestant point of view, there was nothing implicitly wrong with the Eastern Orthodox decision to start a Dairy Queen or Luther’s business choice of Taco Bell.   There’s a lot of nuance to the subject and more to discuss, of course.  But we can all agree — unlike the Mormons with the kinky novelty business, the J.W.s running the neighborhood house of bondage, or those liposuction experts the modalists — our goal is for people to be fed.

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